Last week I was very kindly invited in by the lovely team at All Aboard to check out their Finchley Road charity shop. I headed up to North London and got a sneak peek behind the scenes at a very underestimated gem!
All Aboard is a charity I really like as their shops support a collection of 50 charities – ranging from Great Ormond Street and Macmillan to lots of smaller local charities like the Sue Harris Bone Marrow Trust. I love giving to smaller charities as the money makes a huge difference, but it’s nearly impossible for them to muster the resources to run a charity shop. So by visiting one of the 19 All Aboard shops around London you’ll be donating to a wide range and making a dramatic difference.
A lot of charity shops now are embracing modern design, minimalist shelves, and a boutique feel, and although there’s certainly a market for that, I still love a ‘treasure trove’ charity shop with lots of goodies to browse through and a wide range of prices and labels. This shop certainly had that! I think there’s room for both in the industry and it’d be a shame if all shops felt they had to move upmarket, when there’s a big mixture of customers out there who all need to be served. Clare McEwan (the Retail Project Manager) was explaining to me that they actually try to edit LESS, in order to recycle as much as possible through the shop, and don’t buy in any new goods (which most charities do – think umbrellas, tote bags, keyrings, sweets, etc). As a result you get a really wide mixture of stock – certainly something for all tastes and budgets. I came across a lot of fab high street stuff, but I was also really impressed with how many upmarket labels there were. I ended up with some stunning pieces from Joseph to Whistles to vintage – this shop really did have it all. (I even spotted a pair of J Brand jeans for £15 that looked brand new – gutted when they were too small!)
I met quite a few of the All Aboard team and was really impressed with everyone – from the dedicated shop staff and volunteers Judy, Patricia, Manuel and Isobel (to name a few!). Everyone seemed to be cheerful, welcoming, and most of all open minded and creative. They’ve just launched an Instagram account (follow them here) and as a small charity can be very agile and innovative – they’re revamping this shop at the end of the year so I can’t wait to see what they do with it!
I also got the opportunity to do a 1:1 interview with the current Chief Executive, Carole, and was fascinated to hear about how much the charity has grown in her, almost, 20 years of service. She started out as the PA to the (then) Cheif Exec (who by the way was also a woman – as were her predecessors and founders – pretty amazing!) and when they retired she was offered the position. Since then the charity has modernised and expanded to continue funding more and more charities each year. However, it still maintains some it’s traditional Jewish roots (e.g. most of their shops are closed on Saturdays) which I think gives the charity a lovely ‘family feel’ charm.
It’s a day out in our Borehamwood shop window display. All Aboard the picnic train – check out that hamper…snazzy! 🚂🌸🍑🍐🍷🍓🍇😻 #allaboard #charityshop #allaboardcharity #allaboardshop #allaboardcharityshop #thrifting #windowdressing #windowdisplay #dresses #fashion #instafashion #instadaily #picnic #hamper #flowers #daytrip
It won’t be long until you start seeing all the amazing outfits I found there, but for now, here are some sneak peeks of things I spotted in the shop that I know you’ll love. And next time you’re in London, check out one of their many stores…. The ‘Tally Ho’ store in Finchley sells most things for £3 so that’s the one for the avid bargain hunters, this Finchley Road store had loads of great labels at bargain prices, and the West Hampstead store has an “Old Brick Lane junk shop” feel – definitely worth a look!
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